Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gluten, Casein, Soy Free Baking!

I have a very dear friend (whom is nicknamed 'muffin', lol) who's youngest son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3 (he is now 9!).  Upon hearing the diagnosis, she immediately went online to research and learn absolutely everything she could about it, and in her research happened across the Gluten Free Casein Free Diet.  She read in depth about it (did you know caramel coloring has gluten in it??), spent a lot of time reading labels in the grocery store and put him on the diet.  The websites (and her pediatrician) did caution that it doesn't work for everyone, but she had to give it a shot.  When it comes to her kids, she is as OCD as it comes, and this diet is no exception!  She has found gluten in ingredients you wouldn't think it'd be in!  Besides the caramel coloring I mentioned before, Modified Food Starch can have it, Vanilla extract can have's amazing where it can hide!  Some might be thinking 'oh it's only a little bit', but every little bit makes a difference!

So, anyway, I have made cakes and cupcakes, etc... for him that he can eat since he was diagnosed and we found the appropriate ingredients that could be used.  A few years ago, it became apparent that he is also allergic to Soy.  Do you know how many products don't contain gluten or casein, but DO contain Soy??  A LOT!  She had to find new items for basically every dairy item he was eating, that now doesn't contain Soy.  His milk is hemp milk ($4+ for a QUART), his ice cream is coconut ice cream, etc....  She continually looks for foods that he can have the mimic what the rest of the family is eating (they can't afford to feed the entire family gluten/casein/soy free food).  Along the journey she has found some foods he absolutely loves and some that he despises.

In an effort to keep his Christmas treats the same as his brothers and parents, I set out on a mission to make everything I am making for the rest of the family, for him.  My list included: caramel, chocolate caramel, peanut brittle, cupcakes (chocolate w/choc icing), cake truffles, and peanut butter cookies.

Here are some of the ingredients I used in baking for him:

I was going to make the cake from scratch, but when I saw the cost of the ingredients necessary (xanthum gum for instance) to make from scratch.....the box of appropriate cake mix was a lot less.  It was yellow cake, but I found a way to turn that into chocolate cake. The company (123 Gluten Free) makes a chocolate cake, and the store had it in stock, but it had either milk or soy in it (I don't remember which).  To make it a chocolate cake, I melted 3oz of Baker's 100% Cacao chocolate and added it to the mix along with 3 Tbsp of cocoa powder and an additional 2Tbsp of his milk.  It made a very sense cupcake, but had a pleasing taste to it.
After the cupcakes were cooled, I broke up 5 of them with my Kitchen Aid to make cake truffles for him.  I used his milk as a binder, and melted some chocolate chips (by Enjoy Life) with a tiny bit of canola oil and used that to coat them.

I had some melted chocolate leftover, so I mixed it with some peanuts and made Peanut Bark for him!

 I attempted to make caramels and chocolate caramels for him.  I found a recipe online for Vegan Caramels, and figured I could simply substitute his butter and milk for those called for in the recipe.  I cooked the sugar, corn syrup, milk and butter in the pan, when it got to temp, stirred in the seeds from a vanilla bean, and it wasn't looking very caramel-y.  I decided to just put the chocolate in and make only chocolate caramels.  I did so, and poured the mixture into a pan lined with parchment and let it cool.  I went to cut it a few hours later, and it wouldn't cut.  It was like hard candy, rather than caramel.  I ended up using a rubber mallet and the point of a BIG knife to break it up into pieces.
Come to think of it........I may have omitted the milk from the pan........or at least half of it.  I seem to recall there being quite a bit left in the 32oz package of milk.......that could be why it's not caramel-y!!!

I also attempted to make Peanut Brittle.  It came out ok (I've made regular peanut brittle before).  The only difference was using his butter after it came off the stove rather than real butter. 

 My friend "Muffin" has a peanut butter cookie recipe that she makes for her son, so I thought I'd make him some for Christmas.  The recipe is super simple: 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg.  She said it yields 18 cookies (from walnut-sized dough balls).  I figured, 18 cookies isn't much, so I doubled the recipe.  I used my melon baller to portion out the dough balls, and ended up with 9.5 DOZEN cookies!  lol    At least he has a lot of cookies now!

I am planning to make chocolate frosting for the cupcakes, but that won't be until Saturday night probably.  I can't use Crisco (it has Soy in it), and I'm not confident his butter will react properly to make frosting, so Muffin said she had some Soy free shortening and gave me a cup of it for the frosting.  The tub has approximately 2-3 cups in it and is $8!  I was grateful that she gave me a cup of it.  She only uses it to season her cast iron pans so she can use them to cook food he is eating (as well as the rest of the family), so the tub lasts a loooooong time!

Tomorrow's plan is to get all the baskets packed up to give out on Saturday.  Also to get some truffles rolled and coated in cocoa for my mom as a surprise for Christmas :)

No comments:

Post a Comment